Tony Ferguson is speaking up.
The former UFC interim lightweight champion made a special appearance at the UFC 274 media day this week, just a few days ahead of his Michael Chandler fight on the “Oliveira vs. Gaethje” pay-per-view (PPV) main card this Sat. night (May 7, 2022) in Phoenix.
And it sounds like “El Cucuy” is fed up with how UFC is doing business.
“I had a nice year and a half to think about everything, it’s kind of like being put on restriction a little bit,” Ferguson told reporters. “I got a bunch (of fights left), I’m gonna be real, I’m willing to be able to fight it out, to go out there and not be held under. The promoters here, they act like drug dealers sometimes, they just throw around a couple bucks here and there. They’re like ‘C’mere kid, C’mere kid, take this, take this.’ If you don’t have the will to say no to that stupid shit, you’re gonna get fucked.”
Ferguson, 38, is not the first UFC fighter to warn up-and-coming combatants about the conditions at the Endeavor-owned fight promotion. Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones also cautioned the new generation of athletes about “greedy” UFC President Dana White.
“Terrance McKinney is the same fucking way and a couple other people. Even for me, I had to go out there and say no a couple times,” Ferguson continued. “I had to ignore Dana’s call once during the pandemic. I’m chilling man, I’m skateboarding. You know what? He didn’t answer my phone call and it’s not gonna be about that because I’m having fun, I’m doing something for myself which is cool. It took a long time to be able to think about myself like that. I’ve been with the company for a long time and they treated me like shit. That’s a lot of underlying stuff. They’re trying to come out here to search for me to sign my fucking contract. I’m like, ‘you guys are sweating bullets, huh?’ That’s how you guys make me feel sometimes. It’s not fair.”
The issue goes back several years, as you can see by Ferguson’s tweet from 2019:
I'm the type of guy that has been antoganized, provoked, and threatened to take & not take fights or certain opportunities to benefit monetarily otherwise my family would be have been hurt. -Champ Shit Only— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) March 12, 2019
The 25-6 Ferguson was previously benched for “personal issues” and has struggled to keep himself in the 155-pound title picture. While White insists “El Cucuy” is not in danger of losing his spot on the UFC roster, a loss to Chandler this weekend in “The Copper State” will send the former interim champ to his fourth straight loss.
To see the rest of the UFC 274 fight card and PPV lineup click here.